Renowned Literary Minds Help Celebrate Library's 125th Anniversary

Authors Jonathan Eig, Joseph Epstein and Elizabeth Berg joined musician Billy Corgan and other award-winning artists at a packed reading at the Highland Park Public Library on Sunday.

"Today Show" correspondent Mike Leonard told the packed crowd at the on Sunday his inspiration to pursue a creative career came from this city.

The broadcast journalist, who has filed over a thousand stories and has traveled the globe to report, explained that he had undiagnosed dyslexia when he was a child and sat "in the back of the back of the classroom." 

That is until he went to a concert in 1964 and saw Bob Dylan perform.

"I couldn't move for two hours," Leonard said of the performance. "I decided that night I was going to be creative."

Leonard, who read the lyrics to "Mr. Tambourine Man," was one of a dozen renowned creative minds that celebrated the library's 125th anniversary by reading excerpts from their favorite works on Sunday at Chicago Reads. Hosted by Rick Kogan, the event included Smashing Pumpkins' frontman Billy Corgan, Writers' Theatre co-founder Michael Halberstam and Steppenwolf Artistic Director Martha Lavey.

"I grew up learning to read in this building," Highland Park Mayor Nancy Rotering said, before reading an excerpt from Harper Lee's masterpiece, To Kill A Mocking Bird. "This book stopped me in my tracks."

The event is just one of a few things planned to celebrate the library's anniversary. On Sunday, Sept. 23, 

Click on the photos above to see who read what at Sunday's event.

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